George Gordon Byron She walks in beauty
This is beautiful poem which Byron wrote in honor of his beautiful cousin. Within the poem there are allusions to what she wore at the ball where they met. At the ball she wore a black mourning dress with white spangles. In the poem, Byron begins with comparing her beauty to the night sky. This imagery of a dark night sky with stars could also describe her dress at the ball. Byron’s poetic form is very interesting; it is made of 6 lines of iambic tetrameter where the rhyme scheme goes ababab. This poem has a powerful grace to it that makes it flow easily over the tongue but yet is quite complex especially in the 2nd and 3rd stanzas.
When we two parted
This poem has a very uneven meter which for the life of me I cannot decipher. This poem is quite sad since its theme is the parting of two lovers. The first stanza is remembering what happened at the hour of their parting and how that foretold his feeling now. A thought just entered my head; perhaps this poem is speaking of the death of one of the lovers since her cheek grows pale and cold. “Colder thy kiss” seems to signify that even though he try to kiss her now, her kiss will get steadily colder. In stanza 2 there is another suggestion that the other lover is dead because their vows are sundered and this should only happen in death. That is my conjecture.
So, we’ll no more go a roving
As I read this poem, I began to get excited to see and hear the Scottish poetic lilt of iambic tetrameter. This poem is very characteristic of some of the bawdy Scots poetry of the Romantic period and which is best exemplified by Robert Burns. This poem echoes this style and it actually an English mimic of a Scots poem. This poem openly speaks of love making as the lovers would go out into the night. This is a lament because the speaker feels he is getting on in age and cannot do the same job he used to do as a youngster.
From Don Juan
This small segment of Don Juan is quite interesting and very philosophical. Some of the words and phrases in this poem have differing meanings. “Would” could also mean wish in this poem and therefore it would say he wishes to Heaven he were like clay but why? I think it’s so he could forget his past mistakes for God will take them into account. The grammar of the sentences is very convoluted; they just do not seem right. This poem seems to be a very hypocritical poem since he wishes he was like clay to forget the past because he knows it’s wrong but he still wants to get drunk.
I truly think Shelley really likes odd ancient names; it seems nearly every character or writing has some kind of bizarre name. This has to do with the classical literature Shelley reads. This is a poem which recalls the prideful words of King Ozymandias or Ramses II. The poem is made of iambic pentameter with an ababa rhyme scheme. This poem perhaps is a testament to the pride of mankind and how foolish and vain it really is. Ramses had built a statue of himself to remind others that he was the “King of Kings” and behind him lay the testament of his power, his wonderful temple. Of course this inscription survived but his kingdom and most of his statue didn’t. His face was in the ground in a frowning humility. As I read this poem I am reminded that this is what happens to all those who claim the role of “King of Kings” who are not God.
Ode to the West Wind
This poem is perhaps one of the best examples of Romanticism poetry due to the themes that are in the poem. There is the imagery of wind which symbolizes change in the romanticist viewpoint. Of course there is the theme of nature’s impact upon mankind and other such things. This poem also uses various images of differing colors of vapor to symbolize the various races of mankind and how they are united and together bring about change. As with most romantic poems, this one is full of the poet or speaker calling out for such changes to occur. This poem also asks to be commanded to do something for change.
Keats Eve of St. Agnes
This poem is full of natural imagery which is one of the biggest themes in romanticist poetry. This poem is quite dark and grim as various characters’ lives are extinguished as if by some higher natural decree. This poem is narrative in form as it relates various events that happen on St. Agnes eve in a church. The whole atmosphere of the night in the church is very unpleasant; I wouldn’t want to be there. This began with the imagery of the cold wind and chilly night and though one might expect the church to be at least warm, it doesn’t seem so.
Ode to a Grecian Urn
I think this is actually my first time ever reading this poem though I’ve heard of it quite a bit. This poem describes the various scenes painted on a Grecian urn and quite interesting as he discusses the turmoil between the “living scenes” and their quietness. The first line is talking about the fact that the urn is not broken and therefore still silent. That reminds me of the adage “silence is not broken”. An urn really is a silent historian as Keats points out; its scenes reflect different stories but do so without words making it perhaps more beautiful and interesting thatn poetry. Hence why Keats writes line 4.
Ode to a nightingale
This is yet another Keats poem which alludes to classical themes. Here there is a reference to drinking hemlock just as Socrates did. This poem reminds me of some of the sonnets we read earlier which speak gloomily and despairingly of being heart-broken. There are more classical images in the poem: Dryads, Lethe the river of Hades, Hippocrene, Flora, Bacchus, etc. I find it interesting in the second stanza to hear of countries and lands being tasted as one tastes wine; that’s the picture I get here. This is also an unusual poem since it desires to be rid of sorrow and dread through writing poetry. Most poems seek to do so through drinking.